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Mechanics Lien on house

GeorgiaMechanics LienPayment Disputes

I made deal with roofer through emails. May 7th I attached USAA statement that stated my high deductible and $3541.18 insurance check amount and to send them final invoice once work is complete. In that email i stated my deductible is way higher than I expected. We finally came to deal I pay $2k from my next pay check which I have paid him. Then when I get the $3541.18 insurance check I'll send that to him but I can't afford anymore I don't have extra cash. I got email today $15k lien on my house after USAA told him they won't pay him anymore his quote was less than there's. Am I liable for all that or what I agreed to with him in my emails total of $5541.18? I originally was willing to pay him more even though I told him u agreed to this deal. What's my rights here? Plus his spelling of my street is wrong and he has wrong names on his lien compared to the deed. Thanks Josh

1 reply

May 29, 2018
I'm sorry to hear about that. Construction payment can really be tricky when insurance payments are involved. Regardless of who was at fault for a failure to make payments, an unpaid contractor, sub, or supplier may have lien rights on a given project if they go unpaid. For an owner of property where a mechanics lien has been filed, there are a multitude of factors to keep in mind, and there are a few options an owner can take to try and have the lien removed or discharged. First, an owner should look to see if there are any errors or faults with the lien claim. Mechanics lien requirements are often strictly construed, so even small errors could invalidate a claim. First, a mechanics lien that exceeds the amount the agreement for work might not be valid. Granted, if some of that work was to be paid by an owner, and the remainder by an insurer, and if the total amount of the lien is appropriate for the total cost of work provided, the amount might still be valid. Another important detail to check on a mechanics lien claim is the timeframe/deadline. In Georgia, a claimant must file a mechanics lien within 90 days of the date they last supplied labor or materials. Lien deadlines must be very strictly followed - and if a claimant is even one day late, their lien may be invalid. Finally, as hinted at in the above situation, faulty information on the face of a mechanics lien could also invalidate the claim. Note, though, that minor errors might not be enough to destroy a claim. For any of the above reasons, or for other reasons that may apply to a claim, a claimant can demand that a claimant release their lien. Doing so via an attorney can add a little extra "umph" and show the claimant that an owner means business. Another option in Georgia is to escalate the dispute via Notice of Contest of Lien under § 44-14-368 of the Georgia lien statute. By sending this Notice, the owner accelerates the time frame during which a claimant must commence their lien action. If a claimant does not move to commence their lien action within 90 days of receiving a Notice of Contest of Lien, the lien will be extinguished. Note that this option can be risky, though. Considering a claimant would otherwise have at least a year before having to make an action on their lien claim, this will greatly shorten the period of time for negotiating a release of the mechanics lien. Of course, if the lien would be unenforceable due to some flaw with the claim, accelerating the period to enforce might not be as risky. Yet another option in Georgia would be to bond off the lien claim - but this would not come without expense. To bond off a lien, an owner secures a surety bond in the amount of the lien claim, releasing the property title from the equation. Eventual recovery would come then come from the surety bond rather than leveraging the property. More on that, here: Bonding Off Liens. Finally, keep in mind that there's still time to resolve this dispute before it gets any further. Talking to both the insurer and the claimant about the dispute and trying to come to an amenable resolution is probably still one of the most effective (and certainly the most cost effective) options available. Regardless, when a lien claim has actually been made, it's likely time to consult or hire a local construction or real estate attorney. They'll be able to take a deeper look into the circumstances of your situation and provide advice and guidance on how to move forward.
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